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What Is the Best Direction and Angle for Solar Panels?

The two most important factors when it comes to solar panel installation are direction and angle. As expert installers, it’s PSUK’s job to ensure your solar panels are in exactly the right place for maximum solar production. 

Finding the optimum position for your panels means considering their orientation and tilt, which can vary depending on geography and regional conditions. Luckily, today’s sophisticated solar PV panels are capable of capturing energy in all light conditions. 

However, there are still debates surrounding whether certain angles and directions create more favourable conditions for energy generation.

Which direction is best for solar panels?

In the UK, the optimal direction for solar panels is generally considered due south. 

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, meaning southward-facing homes in the Northern Hemisphere see more intense sunlight for longer periods. But if you don’t have a southward-facing roof, not to worry. Solar panels can face other directions (north, east and south) without impacting their energy efficiency. 

Many believe there is no optimum direction for solar panels, as it’s largely dependent on what part of the world you live in. For example, the best direction for homes south of the equator is northward-facing. 

It’s also reliant on other factors, like the time of year, season and the angle of your panels. 

Which angle is best for solar panels?

Unlike direction, there is no debate on the optimum angle for solar panels. It’s also heavily reliant on your geographic location, the season and your home’s latitude. 

The ideal angle should face the sun at midday, the time when UV rays are at their most powerful. However, this isn’t always possible. Installers should also consider how the vertical tilt is affected by shading and the roof of the property itself. Let’s explore this in more detail.

What factors affect the optimum solar panel angle? 

1. Season / Time of year 

In the Northern Hemisphere, countries like the UK and Europe lean away from the sun during winter. At this time, the sun appears lower in the sky because UV rays hit the planet at an angle. 

The opposite occurs in summer when there are more daylight hours and more concentrated beams of sunlight. Determining the best angle for solar panels becomes complicated when we start to factor in these seasonal changes. 

It may be possible to maintain the same level of electricity generation in the winter by installing your solar panels at a slightly steeper angle than your latitude.

2. Latitude

Your home’s latitude is its angular distance from the equator. You can discover your area’s latitude by using one of many online sites, like Google Maps or GPS Coordinates

Installers will often consider your home’s latitude when angling your solar panels. Homes in an area with a latitude of 25 degrees may be able to maximise their energy output by angling their solar panels to a similar degree. 

To account for winter, when the sun is lower in the sky, installers may even position your solar panels at a slightly steeper angle (e.g. the latitude of your home plus an additional 15 degrees). 

3. Roof Tilt

All properties are built differently, meaning the tilt of your roof could affect the angle of your solar panels. 

For example, solar panels installed on a low-angled or steep roof may need more support to reach their optimum angle, whether this means extra racking or a special mounting system.

Which is more important: direction or angle?

While the angle can be important, especially as it varies based on location and the roof’s specific angle, direction may have a more significant impact on the panels’ efficiency. 

However, solar panels can also face other directions, like north or east, while still producing efficient levels of power. So long as your panels are exposed to the sun for a significant period, they’ll continue working at their maximum output. 

As a responsible solar panel owner, you can maximise your solar output by managing external conditions. For example, if you notice a branch in your garden is covering one of your panels, get in touch with someone who can help remove it. 

Or, if you live by the coast and notice your panels are covered with a layer of residual salt, get in touch with a solar panel cleaner who can bring them back up to scratch. 

Join the solar takeover!

If you’re interested in investing in solar technology, do so with Project Solar. Our dedicated team will find the best angle and orientation to maximise your energy production. 

Join us in making the country a greener place, whether you’re looking for a residential installation or a commercial PV system for your local business. We can do it all: all you have to do is get in touch. 


Is it worth tilting your solar panels?

Yes, tilting your solar panels exposes them to more sunlight, which can lead to increased energy output.

Do solar panels need to be south-facing?

No, solar panels do not need to be south-facing. Achieving maximum solar output with panels facing other directions is possible so long as they’re exposed to sunlight. 

Can you install north-facing solar panels?

Yes, solar panels can be installed in any direction: they will still generate electricity. 

Can you put solar panels on a wall?

Yes, solar panels can be mounted on a wall. 

They can be attached parallel to the wall, tilted at an angle, or hung as a canopy: this option is often suitable for properties with roofs that are not ideal for solar panel installation. 

However, wall-mounted panels typically may receive less sunlight compared to roof-mounted ones.